Kick The Crutches – Stop Falling On Your Face?

24 Aug

Before I start Today – please send me anything you want to see covered on this blog. If you have a question, on weight loss, weight gain, exercise form, knee pain, why you can’t get a date, anything! Feel free to ask me via the comments section, email or facebook. Your questions = future blog posts.

Today I want to talk about a few “crutches” people lean on when it comes to fitness goals. A crutch by definition is:

crutch

–noun

1.

a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.
2.

any of various devices resembling this in shape or use.
3.

anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute.
4.

a forked support or part.
5.

the crotch of the human body.
6.

Also, crotch. Nautical .

a.

a forked support for a boom or spar when not in use.
b.

a forked support for an oar on the sides or stern of a rowboat.
c.

a horizontal knee reinforcing the stern frames of a wooden vessel.
7.

a forked device on the left side of a sidesaddle, consisting of two hooks, one of which is open at the bottom and serves to clamp the left knee and the other of which is open at the top and serves to support the right knee.
First of all, I had no idea a crutch could refer to the crotch of the human body. Nor did I think it had Seven definitions, fascinating. That aside you can see I highlighted numero tres.
The fact that the words temporary, substitute, and supplement are used in the definition may help point you in the direction this post is going.
A crutch when it comes to fitness can be two things:
1. Something filling the void of something you realized needed to be taken out.
2. Something you’re doing to justify not doing something you should be doing.

That may not be so eloquently put, but you smell what I’m stepping in.

Let’s look at a few common crutches and see which ones you need me to creep up and kick out from beneath you.

1. Artificial Sweeteners – This one is debatable. Studies (on rats) have shown that artificial sweeteners actually lead to weight gain over time. How? Well there is a lot going on when we feast on our chow, more than just the physical processes of chewing and digestion. There are chemical responses to what we consume as well. Artificial sweeteners trick the brain. While we consume something that is incredibly sweet (sucralose is approx. 600 times sweeter than table sugar) there is little to no caloric intake. This may lead us to find these calories from other sources, ones generally not on our diet plan. Basically folks you’re F’n up your ability to differentiate between what’s good for you and what’s not.

Whether you want to debate that or not, here’s something that is non-debatable. What’s step 1 in most solid nutrition plans? Eating better quality foods, correct? Well the stuff has artificial right in the name.

You took the sugary drinks and foods out of your diet for a reason. Don’t fall back onto chemical substitutes to fill that gap. Indulge in the real thing or a diet soda as a treat.

2. Protein Bars – Many protein bars are glorified candy bars. They are          choc – full – o artificial sweeteners, boast calorie totals near 500 a piece and generally leave you hungry a hour later. C’mon people has anything chocolate covered, and labeled “fudge graham” ever been good for you? Plenty of real foods, Almonds and an apple for example, travel just as well.

3. Elliptical Machines, Recumbent Bicycles…etc – Since we’re talking about crutches let me remind you that a crutch is used when you’re injured or have some sort of extenuating disability that calls for an aid to walk. With that, these “cardio machines” do have their place, i.e. people with injuries or extenuating circumstances such as the obese population. However, generally speaking they are a crutch. They are the perfect thing to use to check off that days workout. Instead, you could use your gym time efficiently and work on mobility circuits, metabolic circuits, push a sled, flip a tire, or anything generally physically taxing. I am an advocate for a long walk over some of the elliptical usage I have witnessed.

Note: Many a great physique has been achieved with steady state cardio on these or similar types of equipment. For the general population I would advocate the latter.

4. Leg Presses, Hack Squat Machines, Smith Machines – Again, these pieces of equipment have been utilized to achieve great results. Although this is in addition to performing the real thing, A SQUAT. Don’t lean on the aid of these pieces of equipment and tell yourself you squat weekly. Take the time to work on mobility, drill form, and learn to squat correctly.

5. Assisted Pull Up Machines – Same as the leg press, don’t fool yourself and think that you’re doing pull ups because you busted out 4 sets of them on one of these contraptions. You will get more out of band assisted variations, flex – hangs and jump pull ups. Through these techniques you will one day do your first pull up – I have many female clients willing to advocate for that on my behalf.

If you can already do a few pull ups and you use these machines to add volume, don’t. Start thinking total reps, say 15. Throughout your workout, or even the course of the day perform as many pull ups as you can un-assisted until you reach 15. As you begin to grow stronger add to that total rep number. You will be banging out 15 in one set before you know it.

6. Push – Ups on Your Knees – Stop doing them. The only time I see fit to add these to your repertoire is in a timed circuit to keep moving for the prescribed time. Otherwise start working in push up variations that keep you fully extended. The push – up is an AWESOME exercise, it can be loaded, and de-loaded. It’s an exercise that helps your core strength, spinal stability, and upper back strength. Unfortunately when you drop to your knees you lose that benefit. Use a TRX or comparable system to de-load your push ups.

There’s a few to get you thinking. Got any others? Leave a comment!

In the mean time lose the crutches and stop falling on your face trying to reach your fitness goals.



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8 Responses to “Kick The Crutches – Stop Falling On Your Face?”

  1. Fupa August 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    How do I get a date?

    • gregtrainer August 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

      @ Fupa, a date?

      • Fupa August 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

        ya man, you said you could tell me how to get a date. how do i get a date?

    • Johannah August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      This is way more helpful than anyihtng else I’ve looked at.

  2. gregtrainer August 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    @ Fupa

    You ask!

  3. Fupa August 27, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    how do i get someone who i can ask?

  4. Zach September 2, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    “Leg Presses, Hack Squat Machines, Smith Machines – Again, these pieces of equipment have been utilized to achieve great results. Although this is in addition to performing the real thing, A SQUAT. Don’t lean on the aid of these pieces of equipment and tell yourself you squat weekly. Take the time to work on mobility, drill form, and learn to squat correctly.”

    great point on this one. i know so many people who say they “squat” over 700 lb, then when i inquire further, turns out that according to them squatting and using the leg press are the same thing since they both “work the same muscles”

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